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ΕΜΠΟΡΙΚΟ & ΒΙΟΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΟ ΕΠΙΜΕΛΗΤΗΡΙΟ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ - Ε.Β.Ε.Θ ΕΜΠΟΡΙΚΟ & ΒΙΟΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΟ ΕΠΙΜΕΛΗΤΗΡΙΟ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ - Ε.Β.Ε.Θ

THE 24th TCCI BAROMETER

23/10/20 14:53

 

Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), consistent to its efforts to increase information levels and inform both businesses and organizations (public or private) as well as Thessaloniki’s community, continues the periodic Survey of Economic Climate (at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki) on the four business sectors of the economy and consumers.

The Survey of Economic Climate at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki (TCCI Barometer) is conducted twice a year during the 2nd fortnight of March and September, with a total sample of 1500 respondents (800 companies and 700 consumers). The survey covers all four sectors of the economy (industry, services, retail trade and constructions).

TCCI Barometer” survey is conducted via telephone interviews with the managers of businesses (General Managers, or Finance Managers, or Sales Managers or the owners in case of “smaller” companies) and with the use of questionnaires used by the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research and the European Union, so that the results are comparable with the equivalent National and European surveys.

 

IMPORTANT METHODOLOGICAL NOTE ABOUT TCCI BAROMETER– MARCH AND SEPTEMBER 2020

The consumer and business field surveys at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, upon which all the TCCI Barometer March 2020 indicators are based, were conducted in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic crisis. More specifically, the Consumer survey was conducted between March 23rd and April 1st, 2020, while the Business survey was conducted between March 23rd and April 7th, 2020.  During this period, all the restraining measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic were put into action and implemented, such as the suspension of operation of both businesses’ and the public sector, as well as the citizens’ restraining of movement. Therefore, the TCCI Barometer of March 2020 indicators, fully reflect the consumer and business climate amidst the coronavirus epidemic crisis. Respectively, the consumer and business field surveys at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki upon which all the TCCI Barometer September 2020 indicators are based, were conducted amidst the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic in Greece, between September 22nd and 30th 2020. As a result, all the TCCI indicators still reflect the serious consequences of the continuous economic crisis that derived from the coronavirus pandemic, both in Greece and worldwide.

National indicators are made up by the consumer and business surveys conducted by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (ΙΟΒΕ), which are part of the common research program funded by the European Union (DG ECFIN) - these results, are used in the calculation of the economic climate indicators in Greece and the rest of the EU countries. Taking the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research announcement into consideration about the National indicators for March 2020, “it is highlighted that one part of the primary survey was conducted before the implementation of the suspension of operation in specific sectors of the economy and a bigger part of the primary survey was conducted even before the implementation of the citizens’ restraining of transportation. Thus, the indicators’ projection doesn’t entirely incorporate in full-range the developments that occurred during March. Regarding this fact, a further, probably more powerful deterioration of the climate and expectations in general, is possible in the following months”.

Based on the above, it is important to take into consideration that this time difference, though short in days, between the primary research that feeds the National and European indicators and the relevant one of the TCCI Barometer that feeds those of the Thessaloniki Prefecture, renders these indicators incomparable for March 2020, due to the coronavirus crisis developments that occurred during this period, both in Greece as well as in a series of other European countries.

 

1.CONSUMER SURVEY

The “Consumer Confidence Indicator” is calculated based on consumer’s predictions for the general economic situation of the country, the economic situation of their household, the intention for saving and their prediction for unemployment levels. It must be mentioned that predictions are between +100 (all consumers anticipate an increase) to -100 (all consumers anticipate a decrease) and appear as differences between positive and negative responses. In particular, a negative difference means that the percentage of those who predict a decrease is higher than the one of those who predict an increase and vice – versa.

According to the survey, consumers at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki still show intense concern and pessimism amidst the coronavirus epidemic crisis and currently the Consumer Confidence Indicator stands at -41 points – with a slight 4-point increase compared to recent “March 2020”.


The survey shows continued adverse climate among consumers, as the Consumer Confidence Indicator remains at very negative ground and far from the  -2 points in September 2019 – the highest point ever recorded since the beginning of the “TCCI Barometer” in March 2009 – at -41 points today. The euphoria that followed the results of the National Elections of July 2019 and lead consumer confidence to an almost “optimistic” level, has given its place to a sense of intense concern and worry as far as the “next day” of the coronavirus epidemic is concerned. And this is totally justified, since already by the end of March – when the consumer survey was conducted - 43% of those who participated stated that their income has been reduced, 27% stated that their job was either suspended or permanently lost (got fired) and also another 27% stated that their business has been reduced. This situation appears to continue even today (September 2020), though in a milder degree, but seemingly in a more permanent manner: 29% of those who participated in the current survey stated that their income has been reduced as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, 18% stated that their business overall has been reduced and also another 8% stated that their job was either suspended or permanently lost (got fired).

In particular, consumers at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki indicate:

  • On one hand, a clear deterioration of the evaluation of their economic situation for the preceding period (compared to March 2020), while on the other hand, a significant reduction on the sense of pessimism about its future development, as there is a remarkable decrease in the percentage of those who expect a deterioration of their household’s economic situation over the next months (from 55% in March 2020 to 38% at present), while the majority (42%) predicts a stabilization of their  future economic situation for the following 12 months.                                                                                                 
  • The percentage of those who stated that the country’s general economic situation has (in a smaller or larger degree) deteriorated over the past year, is rocketed to 66% (when on March 2020, 41% estimated that the economic situation of the country has improved in a smaller of larger degree over the past year). At the same time the percentage of those who estimate that the country’s general economic situation over the next 12 months will deteriorate, remains at a very negative level (63% today compared to 70% last March 2020).
  • Consumers in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki estimate that prices have been stabilized during the past 12 months (53% from 55% last March), while the percentage of those who detect some increase in prices has been reduced to 34% from 39% last March. Meanwhile, there is a clear increase in the percentage of consumers who believe that consumer prices will be stable over the next 12 months (44% versus 32% last March 2020).
  • Consumers seem extremely pessimistic as far as unemployment levels are concerned, since the majority of respondents believe that unemployment levels will increase “A lot” or “Somewhat” (83% compared to 73% in March 2020), while at the same time there is a further reduction of the percentage of those who believe that unemployment levels will decline over the next 12 months (8% compared to 11% last March).  
  • An improvement appears as far as the consumer’s evaluation of current circumstances to make major purchases is concerned (13% considers that this is an appropriate time for important purchases such as furniture, electric appliances etc., compared to 9% on March 2020), still though remaining at a very negative ground. A similar situation of slight improvement is also recorded in the indicator measuring the willingness to make such purchases in the future, still again remaining in a very negative ground.
  • An increased intention to save is reported, compared to March 2020, with a slight increase in the percentage of those who save money (“more” or “less”, 24% from 21% in March 2020), while there is a marginal increase in the percentage of those who say they live at the expense of their savings or borrow money (26% from 24%) and a decrease of those who say that they just break even with their income (49% compared to 54% in March 2020). This upward trend of the intention to save is probably due to the suspension of making major consumer expenses that is caused by the continuous coronavirus pandemic sense of insecurity.
  • A slight improvement is reported as far as the car market is concerned in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, with 8% of the consumers saying that it is very or highly likely to make a car purchase (6% in March 2020).
  • A slight improvement is also reported on the real estate market and the intention to buy or build a house (4% today compared to 2% last March) whereas the construction activity is generally expected to deteriorate as far as the renovations and / or repairs-house improvements are concerned, where the corresponding indicator shows signs of decrease (9% over 14% on March 2020).

 

2. INDUSTRY SURVEY

The “Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector” at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki still remains at a very negative level, showing though an important improvement compared to that of March 2020.

Thus, the balance of positive – negative estimates of the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector” stands now at -25 points at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki. It must be noted that this indicator, on March 2020 reached its worst level since the beginning of the TCCI Barometer surveys in March 2009, but showed an important recovery on September 2020 (from -41 to -25 today).

After a two-year period that the Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector appeared to “flirt” with positive grounds, moving away from the negative numbers that were consistently recorded from 2009 up to 2016-2017, the appearance of the coronavirus epidemic as well as the development and implementation of the restraining measures to combat the sanitary crisis, have led to its downfall at an even worse level than the one recorded during Greece’s recent economic crisis (2010-2011). Today (September 2020) an important recovery of the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector” is observed as compared to March 2020, which is mainly based on the recovery of the expectations for production level and level of exports for the following six month period. However, the ongoing development of the coronavirus pandemic, both in a national and worldwide scale, is the factor that will determine the indicator’s future course.

In particular, the views of the industrial sector at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki are summarized as follows:

  • There is a definite plunge in production (from -21 to -56) over the past 6 months, with the corresponding indicator reaching the worst negative level since March 2012 (then -64). Estimates regarding the evolution of production in the near future at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, are once again at a negative – though significantly improved – level, compared to last March when it had reached its worst level since the establishment of the TCCI Barometer surveys (-66 to -17 today).
  • There is a satisfying management of inventories and production capacity. At the same time, the current production capacity level, after its significant reduction on March 2020 compared to September 2019 (60% from 72%), has currently recovered slightly to 62%.  At the same time, the number of assured months of production based on current overall books has increased to 2,9 months after the plunge at 1,5 months last March – the worst performance ever recorded since the establishment of the TCCI Barometer.
  • The deep pessimism that was recorded as far as the future of exports level is concerned is now interrupted (-7 from -51 last March 2020).
  • A significant fall of product prices is expected for the near future, as well as a quite probable downward trend for employment over the near future.

 

3. SERVICES SURVEY

A steadily negative climate is recorded by services at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki compared to March 2020, with the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Services sector” stabilized at the same negative levels as 3 years ago.

More specifically, the relevant “Business Expectations Indicator for the Services Sector” is recorded at a negative ground (-33 points), almost as low as March 2020 (-30), very far from the highly positive ground it stood on September 2019 for the first time since the beginning of the “TCCI Barometer” in March 2009.

In particular, services at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki mention:

  • Dramatic deterioration as far as their business situation is concerned (-59 today compared to -30 last March), as well as demand for their business during the preceding six months (from -2 last March 2020 to -28 today).
  • A recovery of expectations for the demand over the next six months is recorded, far from the lowest value ever recorded over the past decade during last March (-58 to -12 today), though still remaining at negative grounds.
  • There is also a negative trend as far as the levels of employment is concerned during the past 6 months, but a stabilization trend appears over its evolution in the near future (next 6 months). In addition, a slight decreasing trend of price levels is recorded for the near future.

 

4. RETAIL TRADE SURVEY

A slight improvement is recorded as far as the climate among Retail Businesses at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki are concerned, compared to that of March 2020, with the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Retail Trade sector”, however, remaining on clearly negative grounds and at low levels, comparable with those of the 2010-2012 period.

Thus, the balance of positive – negative estimates of the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Retail Trade sector” stands at -31 points (from -37 in March 2020, when it had submerged 45 points compared to that of September 2019).

In particular, the views of Retail businesses at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki can be summarized as follows:

  • A negative evaluation, clearly deteriorated compared to last March (-68 from -44), is observed about sales during the past six months, while, on the other hand, expectations about sales in the next six months show a remarkable rise (-39 from -67 last March), remaining, nevertheless, pessimistic. In addition, a great increase is observed as far as the development of orders are concerned for the next six months (from -68 points on March 2020 to -40 today), yet still accompanied by a deep sense of pessimism.
  • Moreover, they foresee a clear decrease in the employment levels in their sector and a similar decline as far as product prices are concerned in the near future.

 

5. CONSTRUCTION SURVEY

A slight upward trend of the Construction Sector expectations is observed, still remaining though at very negative grounds. The “Business Expectations Indicator for the Construction Sector” in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki has somewhat improved.

Thus, the balance of positive – negative estimates of the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Construction Sector” stands at -26 points at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki (compared to -33 on March 2020).


In particular, the views of Construction businesses at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki can be summarized as follows:

  • A remarkable decline of the construction activity indicator over the last six months is reported (-34 points today compared to -3 points last March).
  • A slight increase in the Construction sector is recorded as far as the current levels of orders is concerned.
  • A stabilizing trend appears in the expected employment levels over the next 6 months and a downward trend as far as the real estate prices are concerned.

 

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